At Kidzrus we are passionate about living the best and healthiest lives possible and incorporate nutritious food, exercise and outdoor play into our Quality Improvement Plan and daily routines.
We take great pride in serving a wide range of world foods that are nutritious with opportunities for healthy eating and are totally committed to providing a balanced menu from birth onwards. We ensure that all meals are home made by our setting chef’s using fresh and home grown or locally sourced products that are balanced and reflect the variety of flavours and recipes of cultures, diets and faiths from around the world. Our vision is to reduce the amount purchased and increase the produce that we grow together with our children at our settings. This will have two benefits – it will reduce the carbon footprint of the settings and minimise the amount of plastic wrappings as waste and also enhance our childrens awareness of food journey from the seed to the plate as well as nurturing and caring for their own fresh foodstuffs.
Our menu planning involves our children and their families as we believe that this allows them to make healthy choices. We strive to ensure that dietary needs or food intolerances/allergies are catered for, and an alternative dish is provided where required.
When babies are approaching the weaning stage, we are able to support parents in introducing him/her to their first food experiences via a baby led or traditional approach and a weaning plan can easily be created to ensure babies needs are met.
We believe that mealtimes are a social time as much as being a valuable learning opportunity, so table manners, independence in making choices and self-serving (where age appropriate) and conversation about our day will always be encouraged.
We are aware that food and mealtimes can sometimes be quite a challenge for some children and their parents. Through the training we have undertaken as well as years of experience in supporting parents we are able to offer support and advice to promote positive eating habits and mealtimes.
At Kidzrus Nursery, we have introduced a Vision, Inspirations and Reflections Display incorporating lots of amazing ideas and suggestions from Staff, Parents and Children. We welcomed lots of different ideas for the benefit of the all, more so since the pandemic we want to be outdoors much more and improve our mental health and well being.
We asked the children their ideas and decided to have a Children’s Committee Meeting at the start of the New Year. The focus was on growing our own vegetables at home as we do at nursery with support of our amazing Nursery Cook, Helena. Helena has been growing different vegetables and herbs at Kidzrus, Media City for some time.
We asked our children what their favourite vegetables are and what vegetables they had on their Christmas lunch. We cut up a selection of vegetables at the meeting, including carrots, onions, garlic, herbs, potatoes and the children used their senses to identify them.
We asked the children what other vegetables they would like to grow and where else could we grown them? The children suggested they would like to grown some vegetables at home and invite their Mummies, Daddies and Grandparent’s in to help us. We had refreshments and Kai, Jess and Jake took the minutes of the meeting which was attended by our Pre School and Toddler Committee Members.
We had a selection of gardening equipment and pictures of all kinds of vegetables to help us identify our favourites and we read a short story.
As a result of the wonderful feedback from the Children’s Committee Meeting it was agreed that we host a “ Get up and Grow” session and invite our parents and grandparents to share expert advice and tips on how to start growing vegetables at home. We promoted the session via our Famly App and our social media accounts and received a very positive response.
The following week, we planned the session and collected the resources and starter packs making a lovely display ready for the parents to arrive. We had so many parents attend the session and Helena started the session by welcoming everybody to our first “Get up and Grow Session” which we intend to do in a regular basis with lots of help and support from our little gardeners at nursery.
There are so many benefits to growing your own vegetables and herbs and you don’t need a garden to do so. Helena explained and demonstrated the alternative ways of starting to grow and shown examples of the little pots using newspapers and a little soil with a packet of seeds. They can be left on a windowsill to germinate until the frost has gone then planted either in a pot or in the garden. Helena showed pictures of recycled pots, milk cartons, cake containers, yoghurt pots – these are all ideal to plant seeds. This is also great for sustainability as it promotes the reduce, reuse, recycle ethos. Helena also discussed how healthy and satisfying it is growing our own vegetables at home and involving our children.
At nursery we have been growing so many vegetables, herbs and spices and the children are aware of the whole process from the seeds to eating them for our lunch. They help to plant them, care for and watch them grow and then pick them when they are ready. They learn so much about the process and more importantly enjoy eating them for lunch and snacks.
As Helena showed us how to plant the seeds, children and parents had a go and were able to take their pots home with them, along with a lovely starter pack. The pack included a pot, soil, packs of seeds, advice on what to plant and when, how to best care for the vegetables and when to cut them.
We had a super time with our children and parents and will be doing another session in the Spring planting more vegetables and learning even more wonderful tips on growing your own.
We can all benefit from these sessions which greatly improve our health and well being. Gardening is so therapeutic and enjoyable and we can all do the most simple things to start growing our own.
We think that outdoor play is a completely natural enhancement and extension of our indoor environment and we ensure that the children have opportunity to freely access our safe and secure outdoor play areas from their playrooms. Playing outside provides many amazing opportunities for our children to use all their senses, to experience wonder and enchantment, to work on a much larger scale, to develop their motor skills, to learn how exercise and be active so that they can have fun and to enjoy a greater sense of freedom and independence.
We see the great outdoors as a classroom without a roof and we take the children out in all types of weather – there’s no such thing as bad weather… you just need to have appropriate clothing!
Our children take part in a fun filled fitness program with our colleagues to help them develop their gross motor skills, spacial awareness and learn exercise can be fun. We incorporate exercise and mindfulness into our sessions and discuss the advantages of exercise and positive mental health and wellbeing with our children so that they see the many benefits and it becomes second nature to them.
We have so many things planned going forwards in our drive to be healthier practitioners and children within the settings. Our mission is to support our colleagues, children and their families to adopt a healthier lifestyle through balanced diets, exercise and an awareness of sustainability. This is not a short fix as we need to make a joint and continued effort to drive this forward to be a whole lifestyle and lifetime project.